Ken Blackwell is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and is a Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at the Family Research Council, as well as the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow for Public Policy at the Buckeye Institute in Columbus, Ohio. He is a visiting fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the American Civil Rights Union. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Club for Growth, National Taxpayers Union and Pastors Retreat Network. Mr. Blackwell is also the Chairman for the Coalition for a Conservative Majority, and a member of the National Rifle Association's Public Affairs Committee. He is a columnist for the New York Sun, a contributing editor and columnist for the conservative news and opinion site Townhall.com, and a public affairs commentator for the Salem Radio Network.
He has a distinguished record of achievement as a finance executive, entrepreneur, diplomat, educator and independent corporate director. He is one of the nation’s leading conservative voices and a strong advocate free market enterprise. In 2006, he became the first African-American in Ohio history to be a major party nominee for governor.
In 2004, the American Conservative Union and the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs honored Mr. Blackwell with the John M. Ashbrook Award for his steadfast conservative leadership. Past recipients of the award include President Ronald Reagan, Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and Charlton Heston.
Mr. Blackwell’s public service includes terms as mayor of Cincinnati, an undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. In 1994, he became the first African-American elected to a statewide executive office in Ohio when he was elected treasurer of state. He subsequently was elected to two terms as secretary of state.
Mr. Blackwell is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration (2003– present), a director of the Academy for Government Accountability (2007–present), and a former member of the federal senior executive service. He was co-chairman of the board of directors of the Campaign Finance Institute (2003–06) in Washington, D.C. and a member of the Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services and Government (2003–06). Mr. Blackwell has been a member of the national advisory boards of the Princeton Review (2000-06) and Youth for Christ (2003-05). He is a former chairman of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board (1998–2001) and member of the Advisory Panel of the Federal Elections Commission (1999-2003). In addition, Mr. Blackwell served on the board of directors of the ICMA Retirement Corporation (1999– 2004), Fifth Third Bank, Fifth Third Bancorp (1993-94), the Cincinnati Public Employees Retirement System (1985-88) and Grant/Riverside Methodist Hospitals (1996-99).
In 2002, he received meritorious recognition from the Center for Digital Government, and was recognized by Government Technology magazine as one of the top 25 public sector leaders in information technology. He is a past president of the National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council. More than 25 years ago, he began his work in using technology to help government fulfill its mission and commitment to citizens as a member of the board of directors of Public Technology, Inc., located in Washington, D.C.
A certified government finance manager, Mr. Blackwell was a 1999 recipient of the Government Finance Officers Association’s Excellence in Government Award. In 2006, he received the prestigious National Leadership Award from the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. He was formerly a Fellow at the Heritage Foundation (1990) in Washington, D.C. He has served on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans.
Mr. Blackwell was a delegate to the White House Summit on Retirement Savings in 1998 and 2002. During the 1990s, he served on the congressionally appointed National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform, and in 1998, he co-edited a book with Jack Kemp, entitled, IRS v. The People: Time for Real Tax Reform. In 2006, he co-authored with Jerome R. Corsi Rebuilding America: A Prescription for Creating Strong Families, Building the Wealth of Working People, and Ending Welfare. An advocate for tax simplification and government reform, Mr. Blackwell has testified before Congressional committees on taxation, government operations, election systems, education, and banking matters.
Mr. Blackwell also has served on the boards of directors of the International Republican Institute, the American Council of Young Political Leaders, and the Congressional Human Rights Foundation. He was a scholar-in-residence at the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights at the University of Cincinnati College of Law (19991-93).
As the U.S. Representative to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, he led the U.S. delegation to all four of the preparatory meetings for the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and presently serves on the advisory board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
His international activities have taken him to 53 countries and strengthened his understanding of emerging international markets and the growth of democracy worldwide. Mr. Blackwell has held the nation’s highest security clearance, and twice received the U.S. Department of State’s Superior Honor Award from the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton for his work in the field of human rights.
He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Xavier University (OH), where he later served as a vice president and member of its faculty. In 1992, he received Xavier’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has been a Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, the Aspen Institute, the Salzburg Seminar in Austria and the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University (British-American Project). His continuing education has included executive programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard.
Among his awards are honorary doctoral degrees from several institutions of higher education in Ohio, including Ashland University (2002), Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (1999), Lourdes College (2003), Wilberforce University (1980), Wilmington College (1996), Urbana University (1997), Indiana Wesleyan University (2005) and Franklin Pierce College (1992) in New Hampshire. He is a recipient of the Veritas Award (1998) from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut and the President’s Award for Public Service and Leadership (1995) from Central State University in Ohio.
In 1998, Mr. Blackwell delivered the Becket Lecture on Religious Liberty at Oxford University. Since the spring of 2004, he has been a member of the Arlington Group, an influential national coalition of pro-life, pro-family and religious leaders and organizations. He has lectured at Harvard, the University of New Castle in England, and the Moscow State Institute for International Relations in Russia, and the International Academy of Public Administration in Paris. Many of his speeches and lectures have been published in “Vital Speeches of the Day.”
His commentaries have been carried in major newspapers across the United States, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as all major newspapers in Ohio. He is a regular guest commentator for Salem Communications. Salem Communications operates 59 radio stations in 22 of the nation’s top 25 markets and owns 95 stations nationally. He also has been a frequent guest on network and cable news and public affairs programs, including Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, CNN’s Crossfire and Inside Politics, MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, and PBS’s The Jim Lehrer Newshour and Tavis Smiley Late Night.
Mr. Blackwell is a lifelong resident of Cincinnati. He was a founding partner of the highly successful Blue Chip Broadcasting Company, a network of 20 urban format radio stations. At the time of its sale in 2001, Blue Chip Broadcasting had become the second largest African-American owned radio company in the nation. He and his wife of 39 years, Rosa, who currently serves as superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools, have three adult children. In 1994, the Blackwells were honored as one of the National Council of Negro Women’s Families of the Year, and, in 1996, Mr. and Mrs. Blackwell together received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Dreamkeeper Award from the Cincinnati Historical Society. In 2006, the Blackwells became minority shareholders in the Cincinnati Reds, the city’s major league baseball team. Mr. Blackwell is a member of the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity, the Ohio Gun Collectors Association, the Literary Club of Cincinnati and is a life member of the NAACP.
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